Ever since Paranormal Activity became a hit Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon and the found footage genre became a mainstream event and they’ve all varied in quality but for the most part they haven’t been anything I would recommend to anyone to see unless you are just a extreme fan of the genre. The exorcism aspect of these types of films is especially tired because it follows the same formula. Woman is sick, very strong foreshadowing that it is something supernatural that all the characters ignore until it is too late, scary things happen until it very suddenly ends, roll credits.
The Taking of Debra Logan follows a documentary crew as they are filming a doc for Alzheimer and what starts out as your typical possession film turns into something else entirely and it’s all the better for it. Sarah (Anne Ramsay), who is taking care of her mother Debra (Jill Larson) agrees to let a film crew crew follow her mother because the bills are starting to pile and she hopes it will bring awareness to the disease that is eating her mothers brain. Everything seems fine until Debra, who very quickly, falls into the second stage, that Sarah and the film crew begin to learn more about Debra and her past that they start to realize she is suffering from much more then an illness.
What I liked most about Debra is how the film starts out you in believing it’s your typical possession film until it quickly takes a left turn and pulls you into a mystery about what is trying to take Debra and why. By taking this approach, it adds a new layer to an already tired format in a part of the film it would start to get boring. The scares are fresh and it largely avoids the characters from doubting what is actually happening to Debra, save for one character. The weakness of these type of films is the characters doing mostly dumb things, like not checking the footage, trying to make excuses for the things they saw, etc and the film has these characters but it also calls them out on it.
It’s hard to review this movie because I don’t want to give much away because the fun of it is that mystery and watching it unfold. The Taking of Debra Logan is streaming on Netflix and if you are a fan of the possession films I do recommend checking it out.
It appears that Platinum Dunes is working on a the long awaited sequel to their reboot of the Friday the 13th franchise which I always felt was a bit underrated. I really enjoyed The Texas Chainsaw Masscure remake and felt they really nailed the tone of the Friday franchise. Brad Fuller, co-founder Platinum Dunes, discussed the upcoming sequel and denied recent rumors that they were going the found footage route.
“I could just say that for a long time we were stalled,” Fuller tells Shock. “I think you guys reported that the movie was going to be a found footage movie and that was a road that we went down and tried to figure out. Ultimately, I think Michael, Drew and I felt that we couldn’t figure that out, so we kind of jettisoned that whole notion and we had to start over. We’re in the latter phases of that starting over and hopefully we’re getting a script in the next month or two, and we’ll go back to Crystal Lake.”
I while a found Friday film would have been pretty amazing, way back in 1999, too many movies have ridden that trend into the ground and going backwards would just hurt this franchise and I’m glad they could’t figure it out which Fuller addresses by acknowledging that fans want to see Jason. “At the end of the day, those movies are so fantastic because Jason Voorhees is such a dynamic presence and people love to see him do what he does well. We hope to put Jason in a situation where he’s able to do that again, and it doesn’t feel like you’re seeing the same thing over and over,”
I remember when they announced that the sequel could be a found footage movie and for once, the internet actually did some good, and managed to sway the producers from such an awful idea. “It absolutely weighs on me, and there have been many times when the fans have affected surely the way we think about, and in some cases the way we shot, some of the stories. Sometimes you have to go through a lot of bullshit in what they’re saying, but very often you’ll get a fan with such a great idea, or a great notion, and it’s meaningful to us,” Fuller says. “Listen, there was an outpouring of negative sentiment when it was revealed that Friday the 13thmight have been a found footage movie. That was very clear to us that there was not a groundswell of support for that. That had tremendous amount of impact on us and only substantiated our concern about doing it as a found footage movie. Ultimately, the fact that the movie’s been delayed for a long time might be a good thing, because now the movie’s not going to be found footage.”
While I’m willing to cut Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes a break and not jump on every single decision they make as the end of the world, it is very clear they aren’t not infallible and do come up with some stupid ideas. Making a Friday the 13th movie isn’t all that hard if you want to stick to the basics but if you want to branch out and try something new, then try something new, not a genre that the Paranormal Activity movies ran into the ground.
The Friday the 13th sequel is currently slated for a May 13th, 2016 release date.